Walnut Bread with Cherries

Sometimes I photograph what I like to cook, but most of the time I cook what I would like to photograph. Still compositions are my passion, I love making them. I know its very old fashioned, from the old world, so probably I am too :) There are days I like to spend in my studio playing with props, or just walk around or listen to the music while sitting in armchair and browsing through artwork of the old masters. This time I was itching to create a grand composition, but later have shifted direction to something more simple but nevertheless outstanding. All elements seemed to be in place, but one of the ingredients was missing. Item from the past which is seen on our tables these days as well. Idea with bread seemed the most suitable - dark texture, good crust, nuts and grains, just like in the old days. Red wine, onions and bread. I rushed to start my dough. I have finished baking at 2 AM in the morning. Next day, after breakfast I have immediately started photographing and I have to tell you - I am very pleased indeed! And, of course, the bread is delicious, sweet and walnut-cherry combination is very unique - it will go great with foie gras pate and French cheeses. I hope you enjoy my art and try to bake the bread as well.


Top Six Appetizers for New Year's Eve Party

Look no further for appetizers to impress even the most discerning guest. Hot and spicy popcorn, smashed potatoes, or sweet potato baked chips - these really are appetizers to sink your teeth into. Set the table, set the mood and set the taste buds tingling.

For sheer visual appeal, shellfish appetizers are hard to beat. There is little more tempting than a plate - or skewer - full of plump, succulent sizzling shrimp and there is a uniquely naughty pleasure found in the delightful messiness of peeling them at the table. For more formal occasions and for those with more sophisticated table manners, serve salmon soufflé or smoked salmon rolls.

Shrimp with Garlic and Parsley - The Best Sizzling Spicy Appetizer
Garlic Popcorn with Cayenne Pepper & Popcorn with ”Buffalo Wings” Red Hot Sauce


Zucchini Apple Muffins

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Zucchini-Apple Muffins

Note: Before using the zucchini in this recipe, rinse and dry, then cut off the stem end before shredding onto layers of paper towels to absorb some of the excess moisture.


Merry Christmas to All of You and Your Families!

We give thanks for the blessing of winter:
Season to cherish the heart.
To make warmth and quiet for the heart.
To make soups and broths for the heart. 
To cook for the heart and read for the heart.
To curl up softly and nestle with the heart.
To sleep deeply and gently at one with the heart.
To dream with the heart.
To spend time with the heart. A long, long time of peace with the heart.
We give thanks for the blessing of winter:
Season to cherish the heart.

Michael Leunic


Chocolate-Orange Cover Meringue with Pistachio

These cookies are dramatically elegant and unusually delicious. The airy, sweet, and crispy cocoa-flavored merengue puff contains a fudged orange  chocolate counterpoint at its pistachio-coated center.


Bûchettes de Noël - Cocoa Meringue

Bûche de Noël is a classic French Christmas cake whose name translates as "yule log." These bûchettes, meaning "little logs," are intended to be mini-versions of this classic made with, instead of cake, the crispest, lightest, cocoa meringue. They are a perfect accompaniment to hot chocolate, coffee, tea, eggnog, Cognac, or even milk.


Simple Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Quinoa

Recently I have come across works of fantastic illustrator Norman Rockwell who is very talented artist from New York. I could not help to buy some of his prints. I love book illustrations and have tons of vintage cookbooks with amazing pictures. They have so many details and flavors - I can peer at them for hours, there is something so homey in them... And often I just get an urge to go and cook something, even something very simple, but just to make everyone around happy. This is the story behind this post and the Turkey Meatballs Soup with Quinoa recipe. During long cold winter evenings a bowl of this soup can not only warm up your body, but make your heart melt.


Homemade Marshmallows with Honey and Spiced Almond Coating (Gluten, Corn, Egg, Diary Free)

It was fun to make this luscious marshmallow, I like the flavor of the honey and consistency of it. Easy enough and amazingly delicious recipe. I bet it makes great S'mores brownies and topping for cupcakes! Or you can enjoy a nice warm cup of hot cocoa with a big huge marshmallow on top.


Beef and Vegetable Pie

Beef pie 1

Comforting and substantial main-course pies are always welcome. Winter chills are warded of with classic Beef and Vegetables Pie. At Christmas either Chicken and Red Currant Pie or Beef and Guinness Pie with Chanterelle Mushrooms would make a stunning centerpiece. Beneath a crust of crisp pastry, a tasty, rich stew of tender beef and soft vegetables is ideal antidote to winter colds.


Boston Cream Pie - Yummy

"Before spring there are days like these:
Under the dense snow the meadow rests,
The trees merrily, drily rustle,
And the warm wind is tender and supple.
And the body marvels at its lightness, 
And you don't recognize your own house,
And that song you were tired of before,
You sing like a new one, with deep emotion".

Anna Akhmatova

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